2021 U.S. OLYMPIC SWIMMING TRIALS
- Wave I Dates: June 4-7, 2021
- Wave II Dates: June 13-20, 2021
- Prelims: 10am CDT | Finals: 7pm CDT
- Where: CHI Health Center / Omaha, Nebraska
- 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials Qualifying Cuts
- Wave I & II Event Order
- LCM (50m)
- Day 3 Prelims Live Stream (NBC Olympics)
- Psych Sheets
- Wave II Live Results
Join us for our daily dose of overreactions from today’s prelims session of U.S. Olympic Trials:
Harting On Pace For Blowup?
Without Michael Phelps in the field, today’s 200 fly heats were very different. They were… faster???
That’s right. Cardinal Aquatics’ Zach Harting went 1:55.34 to lead heats this morning – that’s actually 1.3 seconds faster than anyone (including Phelps) went in heats of 2016 Olympic Trials.
Harting competed in those 2016 Trials, and needed to go just 1:57.9 out of heats to qualify 11th. The then-18-year-old Harting made headlines (and fans) at those Trials by wearing a Batman onesie during the walk-out for the 200 fly final.
That year, Harting held his speed extremely well between rounds. He dropped a full second from heats to semifinals, going 1:56.9, then dropped another 0.07 seconds in the final for another 1:56.9. If we’re going to overreact (and what else are we going to do in this post?), history would suggest Harting is on pace to shatter his career-best and break into the 1:54s tonight and/or tomorrow night.
Madden Locks In
Virginia’s Paige Madden went 3-for-3 in individual NCAA titles this year. And the 22-year-old is having a banner Olympic Trials so far, likely booking her first Olympic berth with a second-place finish in last night’s 400 free.
Between her strong performance last night, a 4th-place showing in 200 free heats this morning, and a slew of key scratches in the 200 (more on that below), Madden is looking more and more locked in as 4×200 free relay leg for Team USA.
The notable scratches – Simone Manuel, Olivia Smoliga, Madisyn Cox, Melanie Margalis, Mallory Comerford, Katie Drabot, Catie DeLoof, Hali Flickinger, Abbey Weitzeil – have opened the door for a number of veterans to potentially grab relay spots in this event. They include Gabby DeLoof and Katie McLaughlin (sitting in the 5th and 6th spots into semifinals), and Brooke Forde (currently sitting 7th).
There’s a clear-cut divide between that group and a bunch of age groupers sitting right behind them heading into semis: Erin Gemmell (16), Bella Sims (16), Claire Tuggle (16), Torri Huske (18), Kayla Wilson (17) and Cavan Gormsen (16).
Manuel Focusing On Speed
Manuel was one of those notable scratches out of the 200. For overreacting purposes, her scratch mostly just means we can’t overreact yet. The 24-year-old Manuel was the #3 seed into the 200 free, and felt almost like a lock for one of the top 6 spots.
But Manuel probably isn’t an individual medal contender at the Olympics in the 200 free without a serious drop. She is, however, the favorite in the 50 free and 100 free after winning Worlds golds in 2019. Manuel’s 200 free scratch suggests she’s going all-in on speed – meaning we might see a new level of speed from her in the 50/100 frees later this week and later this summer.
On the flip side, she’s also got some young challengers in the sprint freestyles. With Torri Huske and Claire Curzan swimming as well as they are (they both knocked off 2016 Olympian Kelsi Dahlia in the 100 fly), Manuel might be hedging against any sort of similar youth movement in the freestyles.
Conger Squeaks By In 200 Fly
2016 Olympian Jack Conger scratched out of the 200 free, the event that earned him his Olympic status in ’16. The idea was that he’d be focusing in on butterfly – but this morning’s 200 fly was a struggle. Conger did go a season-best at 1:58.37, but was well off his career-best of 1:54.4 from the summer of 2017. Conger snuck into the semifinals in 16th, but already sits three full seconds behind the top qualifier.
Conger’s best shot at a return Olympic appearance has always been the 100 fly. (He also bowed out of the 100 free individually). But he’ll need a big improvement from his results this morning to contend with a fly field that only appears to be getting tougher as Michael Andrew swims faster and faster this week.
Foster Gearing Up For 200 Free Final
Speaking of Texas Longhorns like Conger, current Texas standout Carson Foster scratched the 200 fly this morning, going all-in for the 200 free final tonight.
The gambit makes total sense. Foster wasn’t a major 200 fly contender, coming in with the 27th seed pre-meet. He’s one of eight men in tonight’s 200 free final, and Foster only has to beat two other finalists to book a likely Olympic berth as part of the 4×200 free relay.
Foster was the only one of those 8 A finalists with an event this morning, so his scratch levels the playing field some in terms of freshness.
One more Texas-related scratch with some intrigue: 20-year-old Coby Carrozza was the 43rd seed into the 200 fly. He scratched this morning, perhaps with an eye on an unorthodox Olympic berth in an event that’s already been swum. Carrozza is one of the eight U.S. men with a second chance to hit the FINA A standard in the 400 free. Carrozza finished 10th in heats of that race, dropping two seconds from his best time. USA Swimming has announced that Carrozza and the other seven men will be able to time trial the 400 again this week, and the highest-finishing swimmer from the original 400 free who hits an A cut will earn the second U.S. Olympic spot, currently unoccupied as no one made the Olympic qualifying cut.
Baker Off The Pace
Another notable veteran off the mark this morning was Kathleen Baker. The former 100 back world record-holder went out extremely fast in the 100 back semis last night, but fell off the pace and missed the final. She’s still an Olympic contender in the 200 IM and 200 back, but a foot injury she sustained a few weeks ago is clearly affecting her performances.
Baker was five seconds off her lifetime-best this morning in the 200 IM. She qualified 12th and will have another shot in tonight’s semifinals, but she’ll need a huge swim to put herself back into Olympic contention.